There are a multitude of steps to building a baseball field and all of them require expertise. Nonetheless, knowing the basic outline can help you plan, budget and get the assistance and advice you need. The tips below will ensure that the baseball field you build, or more accurately hire a contractor to build, is pro quality.
Before you put a shovel in the ground, it's important to define these three factors. First, how will your field be built? What will the construction process look like and do you have the expertise needed to make sure the job is done right? Second, how often will the field be used? Again, take the time to assess this and budget accordingly. Third, how will your field be maintained? Be sure you have the resources to maintain and protect the investment you've made in building your baseball field.
Start with Experts at Your Side
Once you've assessed the three factors, hire a sports turf manager or field consultant. Working with your expert, develop a maintenance budget and order equipment. Get these things in order and ready to go. Reputable field contractors can install professional-level fields in about 45 days so you need to have the equipment and maintenance assistance at hand once the grass is laid.
In addition to your sports turf manager or field consultant, secure the services of a qualified surveyor and field contractor and/or field project director. Together, these professionals will help you through the planning and construction process, helping to ensure you won't run into costly maintenance issues down the line.
Source the Sod
If you're sodding your field, determine the right kind of turf for your specific environment. Again, the experts can help with this. Once you've decided upon the type of sod, locate the source. Do this early on in the process so you can have the turf tested and growing properly before it needs to be harvested for your field.
Analyze the Soil
After you've determined elevation and grade lines to confirm existing grades and proper drainage, have a soil analysis done. Send a sample to a certified testing service with experience testing soils for sports fields and can test for particle size, percolation, soluble salts and PH, among other things.
Time to start work. If your site proves to be on an impermeable surface, rototill the hardpan and subsurface soil. Next, identify/locate irrigation system mainlines and outlets, as well as the drain tile system, drain outlets and sewer system.
Since you're constructing a pro-quality baseball field, you'll want all the extras that come with it. Excavate and pour concrete footings for light towers, dugouts and stands. Lay out and haul in aggregate for stabilized areas such as the warning tracks, paths to home plate in front of dugouts, coach's box, on-deck area and fungo circles.
Amend, Mix, Rototill, Rework
Based on the results from your soil test, replace or repair the native topsoil and mix in the proper soil structure amendments. This material can be stockpiled on site so it's there when you need it.
If you're building a sand-based field system, remove all of the soil from the existing field and replace it with a pea gravel drainage system and sand-based root zone for the growing medium.
Roto-till the soil for thorough mixing. Rework the area to grade elevations with a laser grader. Recheck elevations against your surveyor's report. Roll the area to a firm soil.
One note: Sterilize all the native soil materials if possible. Getting rid of the weeds in this material negates having to spray later and will save you money and time.
Add the Details & the Finishing Touches
Once you have your field surface well on its way, start to install the backstops, fences, scoreboard, flagpole and foul line marker. Build and install the home plate pin and the pitcher's mound.
Spread starter fertilizer before laying down sod, finish grading with a laser device and recheck measurements. Re-measure the diamond and carefully double check grade elevations.
Set the home plate, pitcher's plate and base anchors. Using chalk or lime, mark all grass lines, circles, arcs and boxes. Plant the area with seed, sprigs, or lay sod. Build your bullpens and install the warning track. Finish construction and installation of dugouts, light towers, stands, locker rooms, restrooms, concession stands and parking lots.
Undoubtedly, you will run into bumps along the way but if you've partnered with experts, chances are they will help you proactively address any issues and get your baseball field up and running for game time.